Thursday, August 30, 2018
This hike meanders up along Old Moraga Ranch Regional Trail to the Geissberger Observatory and the Victoria Cross which overlooks Moraga Valley and St Mary’s College. The Moraga hills behind Saint Mary’s College provide challenging steep hills, open grasslands, and fantastic panoramic views!
Begin this hike from Rancho Laguna Park at the end of Camino Pablo in Moraga. Exit the park and head north on Camino Pablo to Sanders Ranch Rd.
Turn right and walk through the Sanders Ranch gated community for 3/10th of a mile towards Old Moraga Ranch Regional Trail.
Turn left off the sidewalk to the Old Moraga Ranch Regional Trail post. The trail travels along three wooden bridges across Moraga Creek through the shaded bay woodland to the cattle gate.
The trail continues with an uphill climb along the edge of Sanders Ranch to the first high point at the next post.
Old Moraga Ranch trail stays along the ridge with panoramic views of Moraga Valley and Las Trampas up to the transmission tower.
The trail continues with a steep downhill, at the unmarked split, go straight to stay on Old Moraga Ranch. The trail goes around the lower ridge area to the next cattle gate.
Old Moraga Ranch ascends to the next signpost, go straight. The trail winds its way around the hillside to the next unmarked trail split.
Go right to stay on Old Moraga Ranch, it continues upwards to a flat open clearing. Enjoy the panoramic views!
Follow the signpost, the trail stays along the hillside to the next junction.
Turn right to stay on Old Moraga Ranch, it continues with an uphill climb to the next signpost. Enjoy the glorious views!
At the cross junction, go straight to stay on Old Moraga Ranch, the trail drops down to the next cattle gate.
Old Moraga Ranch makes its way between the rolling hills to the next signpost.
Go straight to stay on Old Moraga Ranch, it climbs up to the top of the ridge with wonderful panoramic views!
At the next signpost, turn left. The trail follows the rolling ridgeline to the next post.
Go straight to stay on Old Moraga Ranch trail, it continues along the rolling ridge to a cattle gate.
Old Moraga Ranch gently winds downhill to another cattle gate.
Follow the trail up to the Geissberger Observatory.
Enjoy the panoramic views!
Drop downhill to the SMC Campus Observatory Pad.
Continue on the unmarked Cross path up to The Victoria Cross overlooking St Mary’s College.
Enjoy the fabulous views!
Turn around and retrace the route back along the ridge to the transmission tower.
Return through the riparian bay woodland along Moraga Creek to Camino Pablo and Rancho Laguna Park.
This is a fantastic scenic local hike that explores the expansive rolling grasslands and ridges around the Moraga Hills. You’ll enjoy the panoramas up to the Geissberger Observatory and The Victoria Cross at St Mary’s College!
7.14 Miles with 1866′ of elevation gain
Max elevation: 1186′
Time: 3.5 hours with multiple stops
Hike: Strenuous-challenging with steep climbs
Parking: No fee at Rancho Laguna Park at the end of Camino Pablo in Moraga
Water & restrooms available
Dog friendly-On leash only
Bring plenty of water & food/snacks-No facilities or water along the trails
Weather: Cloudy overcast skies > sunny & warm. Temps ranged from the low 60’s to mid 70’s with SW winds.
Directions: Rancho Laguna Park > R-Camino Pablo sidewalk > R-Sanders Ranch Rd sidewalk > L-onto Old Moraga Ranch Regional Trail > S-stay on Old Moraga Ranch Trail > R-stay on Old Moraga Ranch Trail > S-stay on Old Moraga Ranch Trail > to Geissberger Observatory > Victoria Cross > re-trace route back to Ranch Laguna Park